Days when I’m knee deep in spreadsheets and I never think I’m going to make a dent in my overflowing inbox, I look up at the print I have hanging in my studio that says, “Love what you do. Do what you love” and I cringe. I don’t love spreadsheets or drowning in email so why am I wading through piles of paperwork? Because… No matter what you do for a living there are probably going to be some things about your job that you don’t love doing, even if you’re a creative entrepreneur.
Pretty much everyone I know has aspects of their job or business that make them question what they do. The trick is to look at the overall picture of all the work you do you and ask yourself, “Do I like what I’m doing for a living?” If you don’t, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate. If you do, chances are that you’ve accepted the fact that every aspect of your business isn’t going to make you feel like climbing a mountain and shouting “I LOVE MY JOB” while unicorns fly out your butt and set sail on rainbow jet stream.
Today I had one of those moments where I REALLY loved my job. One of those moments when I lost track of the fact that technically I was working and felt really happy and grateful. Many of us who run independent craft businesses work alone. It can get pretty lonely answering emails, keeping our online presence up to date, packaging orders, assessing, planning and making stuff happen. Sometimes it seems like you’re the only one who understands the difficulties and triumphs of being a creative business owner. Then you go to craft show and meet another maker who totally ‘gets it’ or you attend a conference like Craftcation and sit in a room full of people who are all just as excited as you are about learning and making and meeting or you set aside some time to have lunch with some fellow creatives and end up truly letting go and laughing and bonding. That’s what happened to me the day I went to CreativeLive. Creativelive is an awesome place for online learning that offers free classes broadcast live and taught by experts. If you miss the class when it’s broadcast live you can buy it and watch it anytime.
I finally made time in my schedule to accept Christina Loff (the CreativeLive Channel Marketing Lead) and Elizabeth Madariaga’s (Executive Producer of the CreativeLive Maker & Craft Channel) gracious invitation for lunch and a tour of the a CreativeLive studios. I am SO glad I did! I’d met these two awesome ladies at Craftcation before but we hadn’t had time to really hang out and connect.
Christina took me on a tour of their offices in San Francisco, which featured breakout rooms with chalk artwork and original sketches washi taped to the wall that felt welcoming and warm. I’ve haven’t worked in office building since a brief college internship at a music magazine but in my mind, offices always feel stifling and cold. The CreativeLive office felt like a hive buzzing with awesomeness. Christina took us to the roof where we stood for a moment and took in an overwhelmingly lovely (though slightly foggy) panoramic view of the city. Then Christina proudly showed us a paper flower frame that Craftcation presenter Robert Mahar had created for his Paper Crafting class. Christina’s pride in the artful intent of what she does was evident in every aspect of the tour.
Then we ran into Craftcation presenter Lauren Venell who was on a break from recording her Bookkeeping for Creatives and Bookkeeping for Etsy Sellers Classes. We had a quick chat about how important it is for creative entrepreneurs to understand the financial side of their business and then Christina, Elizabeth, a friend I’d brought along for the ride (who is a television writer and whose knowledge of the craft world starts and ends with summer camp lanyards) and I sat down for lunch.
When most people think about a business lunch they don’t think about laughter, sharing personal stories and revealing truths about the importance of standing up for what you believe in but that’s exactly what happened during our lunch. As the conversation flowed from me telling them that my Ex was an extra in the 1980s classic movie Girls Just Want to Have Fun to us going over what makes a good creative conference to Christina talking about her days a slam poet to Elizabeth telling us about ‘doing time’ as a Hollywood producer to my friend poking a napkin with her fork and asking, “is this what needle felting is?” time slipped away and before we knew it, we were the only ones left in the lunch room.
When lunch was finally (sadly) over Christina and Elizabeth walked us out and we realized that we hadn’t spent any time talking about business stuff. We quickly went over a few things realizing that finalizing details of a contract could happen over email but bonding over funny stories is best saved for face to face sessions especially if there’s food, cocktails or a drawer filled with candy involved. That’s right, CreativeLive’s kitchen features an entire drawer filled with candy!
So often I find myself alone in my studio hammering away at a spreadsheet and feeling disconnected with the creative business community. It was so inspiring to get out and forge off-line relationships with my peers that I’d been connecting with on-line.
Every moment of making your creative business happen may not be filled with loving what you do and doing what you love but we all have to hang on to those precious moments when the unicorns start prancing and rainbows appear.
Here are our top picks for creative business classes on CreativeLive to jump start your new year and make 2015 your best year yet for your business:
You can also check out all of their Craft + Maker classes here.
Want to take one of these classes for FREE? Good, because we’re giving away the CreativeLive class of your choice to one lucky winner. To enter:
Leave a comment below by Wednesday February 11th letting us know a CreativeLive class you’d love to take or a time when you saw the benefits of networking off-line.
Be sure to leave your email address in your profile so we can get your address and send you some tape!
The Contest is now closed! Congrats Robin G!
Here are some photos from our CreativeLive studio tour.